India will take on the defending champions Australia in its first T20 World Cup practice match today (October 17) at The Gabba in Brisbane. India’s head coach Rahul Dravid is likely to try out different bowling combinations in the two warmup games. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh likely to be certainties in the pace attack, the toss-up for the third seamer will be between Mohammad Shami and Harshal Patel.
Senior pacer Shami, who has replaced Jasprit Bumrah, has not played any cricket for the last three months. The 32-year-old seamer was part of India’s T20I series against Australia and South Africa but he was ruled out after testing positive for Covid-19. Shami last played a T20I match at the 2021 World Cup.
He scalped six wickets from five games at an economy of 8.84 in the tournament. However, Shami played a crucial role in the 2022 IPL for the title-winners Gujarat Titans and finished as the team’s highest wicket-taker with 20 wickets.
India also has the option of playing Harshal, who will feature for the first time in a marquee event. Harshal recently recovered from a rib injury and had only an average return with the ball during the recent T20I series against Australia. He took just one wicket at an economy rate of 12.37.
India’s death bowling has been a concern heading into the event. Fans are eagerly waiting to see whether captain Rohit will pick the more experienced Shami, who has 61 wickets in 77 innings, or Harshal, who failed to impress with his bowling figures.